Comments or No Comments on WordPress?

Comments or No Comments on WordPress?

ShouId I allow comments on my WordPress website?

It’s an ageless question. Leave comments turned on in every page of my website, only leave them on the blog posts, or turn them off everywhere?

There are pluses and minuses to all varieties of answers, but on today’s episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about should you leave them on, how you can protect yourself if you do, and how to remove them if you don’t.

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Some Things To Consider About Comments

In short, WP comments is feedback, positive or negative, left by visitors to your website. Usually they are at the bottom of the page and while they can many time require some data provided by the commentor, it doesn’t always provide a way to communicate with the person making the comments outside the page.

On the plus side, comments are a great way for your visitors, customers and readers to leave a message about the content. That usually involves something positive or negative, a response back to a current comment, or a general comment about the site or author. These comments can serve as a “social proof” to other visitors that you have an engaged community and might prompt a newsletter signup, frequent visits, or even a sale.

However, the negative side of comments are distracting at best, and damaging at worst. Un-monitored  commenters can be aggressive, even threatening, at times. Comments can be very negative about the content, the author or the company hosting the page. SPAM commenters can come in and offer their services or products in the comment thread to supplement or replace the products offered on the page. Images and language can be used in the comments that could potentially be abusive, even illegal, if not monitored or combated.

So, you can see while comments can be a valuable way to increase reader engagement, sometimes they really should be turned off for the protection of the website owner, and the consumers of the content.

How Can I Protect My Comment Stream?

There are several things you can do to protect your website from malicious comments.

  • Require an account with verifiable email addresses before commenting : This will sort out the low hanging fruit of people who do not want to be found after making negative comments. These folks don’t have “burner” email accounts and fake names, so supplying actual names and contact info can sometimes be enough deterrent.
  • Put a comment filter in place like Akismet : Akismet will look for obvious signs of spamming and put these comments in a held state waiting for approval. Then the admin (or you) can go in and either approve or reject. If rejected, you will have the option to block all from this user/IP.
    Requires:4.0 or higher
    Compatible up to:5.2.4
    Released:20 October 2005
    Last Updated:14 May 2019
    (4.7 star out of 5)
  • Use a comment system like Disqus : Moving away from the standard WordPress commenting system and use a system like Disqus will allow users to use the same information across several websites. So just logging into the Disqus system and making comments speeds up the process.

    Requires:4.4 or higher
    Compatible up to:5.1.3
    Released:28 August 2008
    Last Updated:04 March 2019
    (2.8 star out of 5)

  • Employ monitors or admins : No one has time to monitor website comments if the site is large and doing well. For smaller, less visited sites you can see every comment, respond and remove as necessary. But if the site grows, you will have to employ or recruit some people to help out. Often these are frequent commenters who volunteer or can be trusted, but occasionally you will have to pay for professional help.

How Can I Turn Comments Off?

I’m a fan of turning comments off. I simply don’t have the time, or the desire, to look through every post, comment, article and page to look for valuable or damaging content. So I turn them off with a plugin for my website, and my client’s websites.

  • WordPress settings has a toggle to turn off “future” comments : This works great if you’re building a new site and don’t have any comments. But if you do, the old comments will remain
  • Disable Comments Plugin : simply my go-to comment killer plugin. This be installed and activated, then configured to turn off all, none, or some of the comments on the site. Want comments only on blog posts, not pages? Easy. Want to kill all of them? Even easier.No data found for this plugin!
  • Disable Comments and Delete Comments Plugin : A fairly new plugin that does the same thing more or less as the earlier disable comments plugin. Quite simply, it just deletes and disables all comments.
    Requires:3.0.1 or higher
    Compatible up to:5.2.4
    Released:28 September 2018
    Last Updated:06 June 2019
    (4.8 star out of 5)

Comments can be a great way to measure engagement, have visitors promote or provide critical analysis of your content, and even allow pingbacks and other shares of the content. But they can also be a drain on resources, especially time, and even be distracting or abusive to your other readers. Use them with caution, put failsafes in place, and if it gets unmanageable, turn them off before they become damaging to your and your website.

Have any questions or suggestions on website comments? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Additional Uses for Forms On Your Website

Additional Uses for Forms On Your Website

Forms are great for gathering data

We pretty much all have forms on our websites. They are wonderful for having a formatted method of sending emails to us without allowing too much customization, loss of data, or emissions by customers.

But did you know you could also use forms for hundreds of other uses?

On today’s BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about a few of the ways  you can use forms in addition to email forms.

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Email forms are great ways to gather required information like names, email addresses, phone numbers and the like. But a large number of other WordPress plugins allow the creation and use of other forms to greatly extend the functionality of the website, and increase the conversions.

Some of the form plugins I use on websites are Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, Ultimate Member and more.

  • Signups – Email newsletters, mailing list, or creating a website user . The basic construction is inside WordPress, but MailChimp, Constant Contact and other newsletter systems have form builders that allow you to customize and gather the information you want.
  • Single Product Sales Form. Have something you want to sell on your website but giant tools like WooCommerce are too much? Instead, create a form that has the Purchase button built in and sell it right inside the form.
  • Gather some information prior to allowing access to digital content. Have a video, PDF, or other digital property that you would like to require some sort of field entry proir to downloading? Forms can require a field be completed, a checkbox to be clicked, or even a password to be entered before access is granted.
  • Connect to another application. Many of us have external applications like project management, time tracking, Dropbox and many others which enhance our technology. I personally use Gravity Forms to send support tickets to my Accelo system. API’s are a great way to hand off data from a form into that application, saving valuable time and again formatting the information in a way that is more usable by you and your staff.
  • Take reservations. I built a form using another Gravity Forms plugin for calendar date selection to send reservation info for a condo in Montana to the website owner. There are tons of extensions available to add functionality to the forms.
  • Booking system. I use forms for my DJ business, BeLoud Entertainment, as a booking system. It gathers a desired username, the couple’s names, contact info, date and a few other items. All of that information is now there so once I can approve the date, it transfers all of that into a booking system WordPress plugin.
  • Multi page questionnaire. Some people really frown on filling out a HUGE form, but if you just show one or two fields, then transfer that to another page with three or four more fields they will most likely comply.

These are just a few of the ways you can use forms to enhance your website. I also use forms to schedule meetings and podcast interviews. Build a quiz, gather resumes, get critical informatin via surveys, let users add data to a business directory… all are creative uses for forms on your website.

Have any questions or suggestions on using forms? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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